Ladies and gentleman, I have a confession to make. I am a soccer fan. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Soccer?!? Really?!?” But yes, I am a soccer fan. I understand that soccer fans are outnumbered by football, baseball and basketball fans by a kagillion to 1, but I don’t care. I love watching soccer!
More on my favorite teams, players, and loyalties later.
Tonight I want to talk about the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team.
I’ve been wanting to make it to a MLS game for quite a while and the scheduling just hasn’t worked out. But, I did have a chance to buy tickets to the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals @ RFK in Washington, DC on June 19th, Father’s Day. So I went ahead and bought 2 tickets for my son and I. Problem is that I didn’t know who was going to be playing in the quarterfinals when I bought the tickets, because the tournament hadn’t started yet! The way the groups were drawn, as long as the U.S. actually made it to the quarterfinals (in either 1st or 2nd place), I’d have a chance to see the USMNT play. Which would be fantastic! I’d get to see my favorite players from all kinds of teams play, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan being primary among them.
So I have been watching the USMNT’s group stage matches and after beating Canada and losing (and losing decisively) to Panama, the USMNT had put themselves in a must-win position in order to advance to the quarterfinals (and not make my tickets a total waste).
And so, after a throughly disappointing performance against Panama, the USMNT finally showed up!
Final Score: US 1 : 0 Guadeloupe
Cherundolo - Just fanstastic! He was involved in everything all night.
Altidore - He finally made me a fan tonight. Excellent goal and he always seemed to put himself in good positions the whole match.
Lichaj - Tonight was the first time I’ve seen him play. Throughly impressed.
Donovan – Steady, smart, energetic performance all night. He shanked an easy, wide-open shot from 6 yards out, but we’ll forgive him, seeing as we won…!
Dempsey – Also steady and energetic, but I cannot say smart… He missed wide-open shot from 6 yards out and a super-easy tap-in from 2 feet out, and somehow could not find the back of the net. Don’t get me wrong, I still love ya, but come on, man! Had he converted one of his million chances, it would have changed the tone of the whole game.
Howard - On the handful of times that he was tested, he was world-class, as always.
Bedoya - Nice runs once he was subbed in. Shame that he never could seem to beat the keeper to the ball.
Kljestan - Got subbed on late in the 2nd half. Several excellent crosses and was involved while he was on the pitch. I’ve always liked to watch him play. It’s a shame that he plays overseas now, cause I never get to see him play. :-)
Over all, a win is what we needed to advance, and a win is what we got. Most of the team looked tired in the 2nd half, so I am glad that they don’t have to play again until Sunday.
So, I may not have known what I bought tickets for a month ago, but I finally know now! They were double-header tickets, too, so…
Jamaica v United States
Panama v El Salvador
So Bob, please, for the love of Pete, please work on finishing during practice this week. Oh, and give Bradley some rest. He looked exausted!
Super excited for the trip to RFK on Sunday!